Suggestion Box for "The Expendables"

This is your story, in book and movie form.

If you have thoughts about specific issues you would like to see or read about, which experts (lawyers, agencies, psychologists, etc.) can make the greatest contributions to the project, what kind of impact you want your story to make in the American workplace, and general input on you want to see included, contact Feel free to write if you feel you or somebody you know has an incredible story of survival, resilience and perseverance that needs to be told. Horror story about a specific workplace or employer? Send that in, too.

In the meantime, I have gotten many wonderful suggestions from fellow filmmakers,
as well as divineinspiration from researching the filmmakers behind some of the
most influential, acclaimed documentaries of late.

Updated in April 2002

Elyse -

Great project! Your vision is outstanding for this.

Here's one suggestion for your film: Go heavy on the use of irony and humor. Create a cross between Reality Bites and Roger and Me. Or even a Best in Show approach for a segment on How to Be a Better Bully. Workplace Bullies tend to be very arrogant, so you may be able to gain the unwitting cooperation of a bully in a Daily Show type ofinterview. I love your Studs Terkel approach, but to get the ideas out or add a little organization, you may need some crisp, clear source material. After several years of observing the brutal tactics of classic workplace bullies, I just spent 8 months organizing and writing a 130-page website on workplace bullying with the intention of boiling the topic down to its essential elements.


- Dave Chapman, creator of, Orange County, CA

Through Tim Filed's latest newsletter (March 2002) I became aware of your website. I would like to link it to our site I appreciate that our site is already linked to yours.

Congratulations on your plan to work on a doumentary and congratulations for your website!

We are preparing the 2nd printing of our book MOBBING: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace. I am sending you below our promotional material FYI. I will call you in a few weeks to exchange information.

Best wishes,

Dr. Noa Davenport, Author,
Ames, Iowa

"If you ever question why you are doing it (making a documentary), then you will give up because on some level, you'll always feel that it can't be done. But you don't question it because it seems to be what you have to do. And it draws you like a magnet. When it's right, no matter how much it confounds you, and no matter how hard it gets, you don't take yourself off the cause."

- D.A. Pennebaker, "The War Room" (from a 1992 interview)

"I think (the film "The War Room") actually turned out brilliant (because) a chunk of our film is dedicated to a story you have never heard. It works out so well. Everyone says, 'I don't remember that. It couldn't have happened because it wasn't on T.V.'"

-Chris Hedgedus (from a 1992 interview)

From a New York Times review of "Hands on a Hard Body" (1998)

"These may not be people whom moviegoers think they want to spend time with, but this is accomplished documentary filmmaking, finding universal lessons in determination, struggle, planning, persistence and the relationship of mind and body. The experience turns out to be simultaneously primal and complex.

From a Daily Variety review of "The Big One" (1997)

"Imagine a cross between an illustrative stand-up comedy routine and an anecdotal cinema verite documentary, and you're ready for The Big One, Michael Moore's ultimately amusing and insightful follow-up to his popular Roger & Me....Overall, The Big One is effecitvely on target as it examines the current economic zeitgeist. It should spark some spirited op-ed debate, and more pragmatically, sell an impressive number of tickets."

From the Warner Brothers Press Kit for "Roger & Me" (1989)

(Michael Moore) wanted Roger & Me to a mass appeal movie. "I got a lot of film," he notes, " and I don't like sitting there in the dark getting bored. The essence of Roger & Me is that it's got to really cook, really move. You don't need to make the same point three times over, and it should be made in a way that is uncompromising and informative, but interesting as well."

"To show accurate pictures of the workplace, you're going to outrage the industry. In the news recently, we've learned of the closing of industrial plants-and of the men, who've worked for twenty years, losing out on their pensions. Are you going to see this in a movie? It's going to have to be a very tough muckracking film maker to show us how industry discards people. Are you going to have a movie that shows us how stewardesses are discarded at a certain age? And violated the beautiful pact that the airlines have with the movie companies, where they jointly advertise one another."- Pauline Kael, film critic (From "Working" by Studs Terkel, 1972-1974.)

Suggestions from friends and mentors from the IFP West, my Producer's Group and other filmmaker friends:

  • Generous, readable fonts for the web page
  • Be sure to give a significant amount of film time and print space to the bullies as well as the targets.
  • Contact ethics writers from the nation's top newspapers
  • Visit the EDN web site for suggestions and leads for grants
  • Make the people and the stories compelling, watchable, and provide a sense of irony, release, humor
  • Profile social psychologists, people who operate 12-step programs, business ethics experts
  • Provide many definitions for what bullies and targets are:
  1. "Survival of the Fittest" model/"Bullying vs. Social Evolution"
  2. "Are the rules of war just a codified, agreed-upon form of bullying"
  3. "Is there a difference between bullying and terrorism?"
  4. "Despite any personal strengths, is there any evidence to support the argument that targets and those who just don't 'fit in' should be quarentined from the corporate world?"

Another thing that might interest you is a book I read. The Gifted Adult, by Mary Ellen Jacobsen. It describes people like you and me who have the energy and determination to make a difference in this world. You can also say that the profile she describes might relate to the target profile. She describes gifted people as swans living in a world of ducks. Young gifted children often have self esteem problems not understanding their differences a la The Ugly Duckling. I think most of the tyrants bosses are ducks who are jealous of swans. I highly recommend that you read that book as it might help you expand your schema for what makes targets, targets. I think your project is awesome and worthwhile and I hope you will keep me on a mailing list for when it is completed. Also, if you want more information about teacher abuse for your book, I will be glad to discuss it with you.

-Karen Horowitz, teacher, Chicago, IL

Hello, Elyse.

Someone who is being bullied at work sent me the link to your site. I work with children being bullied, and my co-author has written a best-seller about adults who bully each other.

If it is possible to contribute to your site or bulletin board, please let me know. I have some info about adult bullies, "Invalidators" that is from "Nasty People" that I usually send to adults who write to me about being bullied. Also, my co-author is a professional speaker on this topic if you would like to post any of this info on your board or make it available to let people know that their communities/workplaces can become educated on these issues if they could set something up to have Dr. Carter come to give a lecture or workshop.

If you ( visitors) are an adult who is experiencing bullying in the work place, I would suggest you order our book, "Nasty People"

Our book deals with that sector of the population which contributes to a specific phenomenon called "Invalidation." Or Adult BULLIES! This is the major cause of poor self-esteem, mental anguish, and overall unhappiness. Unfortunately, in the US, Invalidation seems to be part of the American way. With this in mind, you can see that this book may contain some of the most important information you've ever read and may result in a significant change in your life.

Invalidation is propagated in our society by about 20% of the population. Out of that 20%, only 1% intentionally spread this misery, while the other 19% do it unconsciously. Invalidation can be found to greater and lesser degrees in various societies. Happier individuals evolve from societies in which Invalidation is at a minimum. Unfortunately, in the US, it seems to be part of the American way.

Invalidation is a general term which I use in this book to describe one person injuring or trying to injure another. An Invalidation can range anywhere from a shot in the back to a "tsk, tsk" A rolling of the eye balls can be an Invalidation and so can a punch in the nose. It is usually the sneaky verbal or non-verbal Invalidations that cause the most damage. A punch in the nose is obvious, and it heals. However, an attack on self the right moment....and in the right way....can last a lifetime. Destroying a person's capability to be happy for a whole lifetime is probably worse than any physical thing one person can do to another. The major reason Invalidation occurs so often is that it seems to work. The sneaky Invalidation works because a punch in the nose is obvious and can be returned to the insulting party, while the mental attack may go unnoticed, and unpunished, while it injures its victim.

The people who get invalidated allow themselves to be invalidated. It is every person's duty to learn to recognize and divert or defuse the

"Nasty People" by Dr. Jay Carter

$12.95 plus $2 S/H -- Please send to: Kathy Noll, 3300 Chestnut St., Reading, PA 19605

--Kathy Noll, Reading, PA

Click Here for more on Dr. Jay Carter and Kathy Noll



Return to Speaker's Corner | Return to Front Page